Advice to a Prostitute
Advice to a Prostitute
“There was a prostitute in Amraoti. Once when she became ill, I was asked by one of her paramours to pay her a visit for the purpose of treating her. I agreed and upon arriving and meeting her I said, ‘My dear woman, hundreds of people visit you. Some of them are virtuous while others are sinful. One cannot know the extent of their sins and it is their sins that have brought this calamity on you.
To heal yourself you must take certain medicines and make some changes in your diet, but it is even more important that you begin to do some spiritual practices as well. If you are ready to do something like that, I can tell you a few things.’
Being seriously ill, she consented to do something and so I told her that on every Monday she must do worship and service of God with all faith and devotion while observing a fast, remaining celibate, and keeping silent as well.
She took this advice to heart and within a few days she regained her health. Still she continued her spiritual practices and actually even increased her commitment. She began to do some chanting of God’s name in solitude every day, three times a day.
After that, by chance, we would occasionally meet and when I found out the sincerity and degree of her new attachment to God, I was very much pleased. But then, one day, she said to me, ‘When I sit for prayers, to praise God, or meditate, my mind always go to my paramours.’
I told her, ‘It does not matter if your mind roams about like that; just be careful that you do not give up the spiritual practices you have been doing.’
She told me that she would not leave her practices and went on to say, ‘When the appointed time comes for me to sit in my place for my practices, I become anxious with anticipation. I then ready myself and begin to bring the beautiful idol of God to my mind. But almost immediately my mind begins to fool around. I think of so many things. So and so has not paid my money; so and so is a bad fellow; so and so is very dirty; so and so is very mean; and so on and on it goes.’
I said, ‘If your mind goes to them, let it go; if their bad habits, dirty behavior, mean conduct comes to your mind, let it. Just don’t stop your practice and persist in it with determination. This will not only help you but will help as well, all those to whom your mind goes.’
You see, various types of men used to visit her and some began to joke about her newly adopted spiritual practices. They taunted her, but she said nothing and after awhile, some actually began to appreciate her and started to feel that they ought not to approach her anymore with a sinful motive. They however, being used to coming to her place, continued to do so and after awhile even began to join her in worship, prayers, and repetition of the divine names.
In time, her house became a prominent center for worship; its whole atmosphere became the essence of purity. Of course she gave up totally her coquettish mode of dress and behavior. She began to lead a simple life and even became regarded by many of her former lovers as their spiritual mother.
Due to her determined attitude, all those who approached her began slowly to turn around and completely lost their sinful motives. In their homes the unpleasantness and irregularities caused by their vices also disappeared; the relationships with their family members became more and more normalized.
My friends, this is an actual true story that has happened very recently. It is not hearsay. Listen to this stanza from an enlightened poet, ‘My God, wherever my mind goes, there resides your form. Wherever I put my head, there are the feet of my Lord.’
Remember, wherever the mind goes, may it be a thousand mile away or into another time, past, present, or future, all your spiritual practices reach those places and times and affect them. If the dead forefathers or their bad behavior comes to mind, then they all get purified and attain liberation.”